Year has pass, and yet, no new trips, no new photos. Luckily, still got many memories from the past. Here, just some of the captures from a very cool trip I did with just my niece and nephew to the south of Poland. Zakopane offers many easy and beautiful trials around lakes, to and from the tops of mountains, around valleys and more. This makes this place as a great option to visit with young ones.
Geysers…..you can stand next to them for 3 hour, but you will never get used to their sudden magnificent powerful display. Got me every time. Here also some of other photos from this trip.
Having a break in the heart of the land where the democracy, philosophy and many more amazing inventions come from? Good! You wont even have to look hard as art will surround you in every single corner in Athens, and not only because Acropolis is visible from every edge of the city. Even that the unique combination of religion and literature, known as a Greek mythology, is not estrange to most of us, you will definitely leave this country with much greater knowledge about the ancient culture, history and art. But apart from the capital there is one more thing to discover. It is one of the most stunning monuments in the world, build on a high hill by Aegean cost. The location makes it definitely as a must see place, and the ruins remain in a really great condition. So here we go.
Bus towards Sounion leaves from the Pedion Areos Park bus terminal near the National Archaeological Museum. It is located close to the entrance of the park. Transport, as the direct one, should have a label with Sounion name on the front, so you really shouldn’t miss it. My hotel was very close, so I just walked there, but it is accessible by bus, metro, tram or taxi of course. Please note that during 2017 the Athens transport ticket system will transition from paper tickets to modern electronic tickets with the use of plastic smart cards (similar to London’s Oyster cards), so please recheck before for updates on transport in this capital. Distance to Sounion is 70 km long, so it takes around 1.5-2 hours. Great news is that almost the whole way there, you will be able to view the charming Aegean Sea, as the road lays very close to the beautiful coast line of Greece. Price for the ticket should be around 6-7 Euros for one way. You purchase it only in the bus, but not from the driver. Someone will pop in on the way with them to sell. I can’t remember if the merchant can accept cards, so maybe have a money just in case. Please carefully check a proper timetable, as during the summer holiday bus leaves every hour, otherwise every 2 h. I, as always, did not check it properly, so I`ve had to wait an hour. I took this opportunity to walk around the park. Not really my recommendation as its full of junkies.
I arrived quiet early, around 12.00. I think it is too soon if you are planning on staying till sunset. Journey terminates at the top of the hill, so you wont have to hike much to the monument. My goal was, of course, to watch the sunset, so I`ve had some spare time to look around. At the top you can find a restaurant and bar where you can have a hot meal, drink or coffee. Apart from that there is a beautiful coast line to look at too. I did go down to sit on the beach for a little while by the crystal clear water, but quickly run away after a completely naked Greek came towards me to chat. Around 14.00 I entered the Temple of Poseidon side.
The entrance fee is just 4 Euros (2015), and it is open till the sun will disappear in to the waters of Aegean Sea. I visited the place in January, so the staff closed the passage around 16.30. As you can imagine, the Temple is the main point of interest, but there is a route around the hill with some other remains of the ancient structures. So go and have a look! You will find sits there as well to have a rest in a stunning spot. That`s what I did. I sat alone for few minutes to watch epic scenery, when a cute turtle kindly decided to accompany me, so we watched the panorama together. The view from there is truly stunning and makes you understand why Greeks has chosen this place to cherish one of most important god in their ancient religion. Magic dusk light at sunset makes this place to look very special with the magnificent panorama of Aegean Sea that surround the cliff. When the spectacular sunset will finish, you have to leave as the side is just about to close down. As far as I remember, the return bus departs at 18.00 and is stopping at the same place from where it left in Athens. So really, it is an outstanding one day, or half day city break trip. As you see the cost is not high, and I know that some agencies will charge you around 100 Euros, so why not to do it yourself. Also, if it’s a summer time, why not to go there early in the morning. I have spotted a very beautiful sandy beach close by, where you could swim or just relax before going to see the temple. If you haven’t got much time in the Athens, you could also add Acropolis area to your day in the evening. Trust me, it is absolutely remarkable at night!
This time spearing you some hassle to read, and me some trouble to write, a brief description about Lisbon to start with, I will take you straight to must see places once in this very capital of Portugal. Thought, there are many free tours available to pick, with a schedule offering almost any possible time and many places to start from, somehow there are travellers, like myself, who always prefer to do everything alone in their own time. This kind of a “extremely social and normal” group of people, again like myself, may find my guide useful. If you are planning on spending some time there and visit loads of places, I would suggest getting a Lisboa Card that can get you a free admission to many places, along with free use of Lisbon’s metro, buses, and trams. Anyway, so what is worth seeing in Lisbon then?
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
This imperious 15th-century Manueline monastery was built to commemorate Vasco da Gama’s “discovery” of India. It is also his resting place. The main attraction is the delicate Gothic chapel that opens up on to a grand monastery, in which some of Portugal’s greatest historical figures are entombed.
Address: Praça do Império, Belem. You can take a tram 15 from the city center.
Entrance fee: 10€.
Free on the 1st Sunday of each month and with Lisboa Card. For kids under 12 years old. Sunday and Holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – All citizens residing in national territory (ID required).
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos + Museu Nacional de Arqueologia: 12€. Mosteiro dos Jerónimos + Torre de Belém + Museu Naciona de Arqueologia + Museu de Arte Popular + Museu Nacional de Etnologia + Museu dos Coches: 25€.
Special discounts: Visitors aged 65 and older (proof of age must be shown): 50% discount. Family ticket: 2 adults + minimum 2 kids (age 13-18, documental evidence required) 50% discount. “Youth Card”: 50% discount. Student Card: 50% discount
Open 10AM-5.30PM (Oct.-April), 10AM-6.30PM (May-Sept.). Closed Mondays and 1 January, Easter Sunday, 1 May, 13 June and 25 December.
A monument to sea exploration
The 50 meters high Padrão dos Descobrimentos (seen under) was built to mark 500th anniversary of Henry the Navigator’s death – one of Portugal’s greatest sailor. You can also get a nice view of the mouth of the River Tagus.
Address: Avenida de Brasilia, Belem. Accessible by tram number 15 from the city center.
Entrance fee: free
Open: 10AM-6PM (closed Mondays).
Torre de Belém
UNESCO world heritage site and one of Portugal’s most famous monuments. Perhaps a great suggestion to start with. Very close to the city center and harbour, Gothic towers dates back to 1500. It is very close to Jeronimos Monastery, just further to the west.
Address: Belém Tower, Av. Brasília, 1400-038 Lisboa, you can take a tram 15 from the center.
Entrance fee: 6€ or free with the Lisboa Card. Jerónimos Monastery/Tower of Belém: 12€.
Special discounts: Visitors aged 65 and older (proof of age must be shown): 50% discount. Family ticket: 2 adults + minimum 2 kids (age 13-18, documental evidence required) 50% discount. “Youth Card”: 50% discount. Student Card: 50%
Free on Sunday and Holidays from 10.00-14.00 for all citizens residing in national territory (ID required) and for kids under 12 years old.
Open 10AM-5.30PM (Oct.-April), 10AM-6.30PM (May-Sept.). Closed Mondays and 1 January, Easter Sunday, 1 May, 13 June and 25 December
Castelo de São Jorge
Towering dramatically above Lisbon, the mid-11th-century hilltop fortifications of Castelo de São Jorge sneak into almost every snapshot. Roam its snaking ramparts and pine-shaded courtyards for superlative views over the city’s red rooftops to the river.
Address: Castelo de S. Jorge 1100º 129 Lisboa. The nearest metro station is Rossio (Green Metro Line), but involves a 20 minute walk. Mini bus service 37 goes directly to the main entrance, while the tram 28 is more enjoyable option, but also does require a slight walk.
Entrance fee: 8.50€/5.00€/20.00€ adult/child/family.
Open: 09:00AM to 09:00PM (from March to October) and 09:00AM to 06:00PM (from November to February).
Take a tram 28
The Remodelado trams were built in the 1930s, and I do recommend the very pretty Tram 28 route. You can jump off and explore one of the passing neighborhoods, or use it as a way to get up the steep hills. Highly recommended to do so, to explore the city. The route screeches through the hills of Alfama before passing through downtown Baixa and on to the Estrela basilica.
Entrance fee: Single ticket for this 40 minute tour of Lisbon costs now 2.85€ whether you buy from the driver or ticket machine.
Elevador de Santa Justa: An Antique Elevator With City Views
A very odd-looking Santa Justa Lift, a neo-Gothic elevator and the most eccentric and novel means of public transport in the city, creates a very interesting panorama next to surrounded buildings. It was built as a means of connecting the Baixa with the Largo do Carmo in the Bairro Alto neighborhood, a trendy area of the city. At first glance, its riveted wrought-iron frame and battleship-grey paint conjure images of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and there is a connection: the French architect Raoul Mésnier du Ponsard, an apprentice of Gustave Eiffel, designed the elevator, which was inaugurated in 1901.
Address: south east of Praça Dom Pedro IV (Rossio Square) in the Baixa district and the closest metro station is Rossio. In the city center.
Entrance fee: A return ride cost €5.15 and included in the fare is the entrance to the viewing platform, which costs €1.50. Ride on the lift is included in the 24-hour public transport ticket that cost €6.30 and can be purchased from any metro station.
Open: 7:30 and 23:00h (7:30-21:00 winter).
Main square in the city is Praça do Comércio
The main square in the city is Praça do Comércio, a lively place with restaurants on both sides.
Cool down on the beautiful beach in Cascais
Close by Cascais can be a perfect place for a break from the busy streets of the city. The beach in very beautiful and it is only 30 minutes away from Lisbon, so could be a perfect one day trip to rest, swim, get a sunbath and just relax.
Train ticket: A single ticket from Lisbon to Cascais costs €2.25/€1.15 (adult/child). There are no return tickets so the price of a return would be €4.50/€2.30 (two single tickets).
During daylight hours there is a departure every 20 minutes. The first train departs at 5.30 from the main train station (Cais do Sodre). The last trains of the night depart from both Cascais and Lisbon at 0:30am, 1:00am and 1:30am. Here is a current timetable.
Sé: Lisbon’s Imposing Cathedral
Cathedral is a wonderful ancient complex that is steeped in history and no holiday to Lisbon is complete without visiting this magnificent monument.
Address: Sé Lisbon is situated on the main road from Baixa to Alfama. The nearest metro station is Rossio (Green Metro Line) but involves a 20 minute walk. Mini bus service 37 goes directly to the main entrance, while the tram 28 is more enjoyable option but does require a slight walk.
Entrance The religious sections of the cathedral is free to visit. The cloisters: 2.50€/1.00€ (adult/child).
Open: 7:00AM until the evening mass, held in Portuguese, at 07:00PM. The cloisters are open every day from 10:00 to 17:00
Take the Lavra funicular to Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara as 2 in 1
This is one of the most attractive viewpoints, with a pleasant garden and the castle standing on the opposite side. It is especially beautiful at night when the city is lit up below. Best to take the iconic Lavra funicular to climb up the hill of mirador.
Address: Largo da Anunciada – Rua Câmara Pestana for Lavra funicular, then the viewpoint is just on a right hand side.
Entrance fee: A one-way ticket cost €4 (€2 for children from 4 to 10 years old) with a return costing €5.40 (€3 for children).
Open: 07:00-22:45, every day except Sunday, when the opening time is 09:00.
As one of a very few capitals in the world to have a thermal baths in the city center, as a cool attraction to start with, along with a pretty hills around and an amazing architecture, Budapest clearly outshine most of the capitals in this part of the Europe. Yet again, thought more and more popular as a city break destination, still not as popular as it should be. Eastern part of the Europe, and mostly Balkans, are one of the best places to travel on this continent. I really do think it is finally a time for tourists to start putting pins to the opposite side of a Europe`s map.
Starting with a very similar introduction of the city, you can find in many of my blogs, yet, the content going to be a little bit different. This time I did not travel solo, as always. I was accompanied by my sister and her two kids, changing a little bit my usual experience from crazy, almost obsessive huger for discovery, to a very lazy, ice-cream eating trip.
Having said that, I enjoyed it a lot! Especially our fun in one of the biggest aqua parks in this part of the Europe, something I would never do as a solo visitor.
What you will enjoy most
Stunning building of Parliament
Definitely my favourite. Neo-Gothic, neo-Romanesque and neo-Baroque, located by Danube River, the building of Parliament is one of the most impressive government quarters in the world. Must be seen from three different points of view: Castle Hill, to see blended panorama around; from the river, while taking a boat; and from the paths surrounded by. Thought, when it comes to the time, evening makes this political building looking lake a fairy tale castle full of magic. My nieces really did enjoy and appreciate the view.
EU citizens with valid passport can enjoy a free tour of Budapest’s Parliament Building.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
Impressive St. Stephen’s Basilica is the largest church in Budapest that can hold up to 8,500 people. Located in the city center, is hardly to be missed. Although in architectural terms it’s a cathedral, it was given the title of ‘basilica minor’ by Pope Pius XI in 1931. Even that it took more than 50 years to build it, kids took 50 seconds to look and were not so impressed ;).
Soak in the thermal bath
Hungary is a land of thermal springs, and Budapest remains the only capital city in the world that is rich in thermal waters with healing qualities. I love them, but couldn’t really try. Please don’t make the same mistake. It can be a perfect relaxed day after a busy night out.
Tasting traditional food at Central Market Hall
Built at the end of the 19th century, the Central Market Hall (officially called ‘Központi Vásárcsarnok’ in Hungarian) is the largest indoor market in Budapest. Located very close to the Chain Bridge could make a fantastic attraction while near by. Perfect also to try some very traditional food as sausages, meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. Market offers also plenty of vendors selling handicrafts, clothing, embroidery, chessboards and other souvenirs. Paprika and Tokaji are also sold there. Fish market is located in the bottom part, along with the drug store and small Asian grocery. Important to add that, for people who do not only want to focus on Hungarian products, on International Gastro Days (Fridays and Saturdays), the Central Market Hall also features the food and cuisine of other foreign countries.
Take a stroll on Andrássy Avenue to Heroes’ Square
Nothing better than to just take a walk via Andrássy Avenue to finish at the largest and most impressive square of the city, structured in 1896 to mark the thousandth anniversary of Hungary, called Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere). Located also near the City Park, this place is one of the most visited sights in Budapest.
Discover historic Castle Hill
The historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest. Completed first in 1265, but the massive Baroque palace, today occupying most of the site, was built between 1749 and 1769. Constructed high on the hill became one of the most notable places in Budapest, from where, except the streets and building around, you can view the beautiful panorama of the capital. Significantly enjoyed by kids and adults.
Spot the beautiful panorama from the top of Gellért Hill
The hill was named after bishop Gellért (Gerard), who was thrown to death from the hill by pagans in the fight against Christianity in 1046. His statue, which faces Elizabeth Bridge (Erzsébet hid) and holds a cross, can be seen from many parts of Pest. At the top of the hill is the Citadel (Citadella), a fortress built by the Habsburgs after defeating Hungary’s War of Independence in 1849. Hill is located between the Castle Hill and Chain Bridge.
Take a free walking tour
The city of Budapest offers many free tours run on a daily basis that covers different parts and different attractions. Definitely worth joining one, I think especially around the Castle Hill and Parliament.
What kids will enjoy most
One of the best places for families to enjoy. Aquaworld is one of the largest indoor water theme parks in Europe. There are 17 pools, including a swimming pool, a wave pool and a surf pool, and 11 slides. What else kids would ask for? Out-door swimming pools? Also available to enjoy along with separate area, called kids’ world, with children’s pool, slides and a playhouse. Aquaworld is surly a family favourite one. 15 of the 17 pools are open all year around, and one of the large indoor pools, that is connected to a heated outdoor pool, is also open throughout the year. As much as water can be enjoyed on every single level, the restaurant does not offer a great range of food. Luckily, goulash soup was available to try with freshly made bun.
Getting to Aquaworld: A free shuttle bus runs every day between Heroes’ Square and Aquaworld. Taxi from the city center will cost around 30 euros.
Main park on the island called Margaret Island
One of the best places to spend a Sunday afternoon. Margaret Island, apart from being an amazingly big and green park located on Danube River right in the city center, offers loads of activities like: bicycle rental, indoor & outdoor pools, playgrounds, a small petting zoo, kids vehicles rental and more. Loads of small restaurants, food stands and and ice cream vans are all around to pick a snack, lunch or dinner from. No traffic make it ideal for a family outing where loads of activities can be enjoyed. Margaret Island is not only a popular destination during the day. It comes alive after sunset too. Definitely kids favourite place after aquaworld, even for a whole day. Can be reach from the land (from the bridge) or by boat, but the last one is the coolest transport to choose from, at a very affordable price too.
Spanning the Danube between Clark Ádám tér (Buda side) and Széchenyi István tér (Pest side), the Chain Bridge (Lánchid) was the first to permanently connect Buda and Pest. Kids loved it as of the possibility of hiking the bridge and taking a photo.
Cruise on Danube River
The magnificent scenic divider and connector of Buda and Pest is best discover from a cruise or a ship. The first one offer a relaxing daytime sightseeing cruise that includes a stroll through Margaret Island. Quicker and cheaper option is offered on one of the public boats marked as D11, D12 (that run during the week) and D13 (that runs on weekends).
As much as I would love kids to try more of traditional food, they just loved the fact that pizza slices and gyros was available on every single corner. Not much to add to this one really.
Perfect for a one day trip to take a break from busy streets of Budapest. The beautiful lake of Balaton is located 135 km from the capital and can be reached by bus, train or car. I think second option is probably the best (around 25$ with return), as the main railway station is close to the city center with underground stop just under. Best time to visit the lake is between June until the end of August. The average water temperature of 25 °C makes bathing and swimming popular on the lake. Most of the beaches consist of either grass, rocks, or the silty sand that also makes up most of the bottom of the lake.
Small parks with playgrounds
Small parks with playgrounds for the kids are available in every area in Budapest, even in the city center. The most important thing about them is that they are very clean and safe, as there is usually a guard during the day and night that is making sure no alcohol is consumed. Smoking is prohibited as well.
I stands for ice, ice stands for Iceland. I will share more about this magnificent country in next posts. Here just a few photos from the ice cave, I visited. Though, just want to add that it really is difficult to stay for some time and take photos in -15C. Even thought, Iceland is worming you up inside!
I could not dreamed of a better day in Budva that luckily I experienced. Everything was just perfect…the weather, atmosphere and off-season time, I have always cherished. But to be honest, mostly it was down to a great walking route I did that day. So if it happens that you will pop in to Budva, I would highly recommend to fallow that path too.
Budva is a town located on the Adriatic Sea cost of Montenegro. The country name perfectly describes the landscape of this magnificent Balkans area. Once you will cross the border, the stunning mountain range will surround you, no matter on location you will visit. I have to say that it is kind of a perfect environment for me to be, as of my love for high hills conjured with waters like lakes, rivers and endless sea. And all that stunning land came with one of the friendliest and nicest nation ever.
Before starting, I would like to recommend visiting also a Kotor, another coast town just 30 minutes to the north way from Budva. I am afraid, I didn’t get a chance to see it, as of my busy schedule, but every possible backpacker, I have met (along with all locals), agreed that it is a must see place too!
So coming back to my perfect day, the start wasn’t the easiest, as we came back late from night out. It was cool, as Budva is a perfect place for good long night out, but the next day headache wasn’t the best thing to start my day with. Despite that, I looked on the map of surrounded area, and I quickly made my mind on activity, I was going to do.
This time I decided to have a long walk by the cost up to the stunning place called Sveti Stefan. It is a 22 kilometers in total, so if you are not keen on long walk, you can hire a bike or take a bus. Please note that with the last option, you will not see the beautiful beaches on your way there. My other thought is also to stay till sunset, as it is truly magic moment to watch, then after take a bus back to Budva. I knew that we will go there again by car with other people from hostel, so I didn’t have to stay till late.
The whole way is easy and very straight forward, located right by the cost line. You will just have to head south and fallow the path. On your way you will see loads of beautiful places to stop, eat or drink. Every beach will be a bit different, either because of a shelf density and shape, flora full of different kind of trees or just the rocks placed around. You will past trough 2 tunnels too on your way and a national park where you can wander around and get on a cliff. The whole walk (with no stops) should take you around 2 h each way, but please note that you really need to put a sun protection, as you will be facing the sunlight trough the whole way.
As mentioning at the beginning, the sunset over Sveti Stefan is something you just have to whiteness. I would recommend going up to the parking lot of the motorway above for the best view of it. There is also a restaurant where you can sit, eat or drink during that spectacular time. Once the sun will disappear in to the sea, you can either walk back, but not recommended in the dark, or you can take a bus from the stop located not far from there. I haven’t used it, so I can’t tell you the price for the ticket, but I really doubt it’s more than 2 Euro. So, not writing to many useless thoughts at the end, that was my peaceful journey, I wanted to share.
Anything, up and running, is acceptable on roads in Georgia. I am not going to write about the economy situation, laws or safety of my latest destination. Though, I might just want to say that I have a new favorite country in Europe. Now here, stunned and surprised by differences compared to the western driving reality, just wanted to share a few photos of Georgian fast and furious.